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Can I Sue the Bar That Allowed the Driver Who Hit Me to Become Drunk? 

 Posted on December 06, 2022 in Car Accidents

b2ap3_thumbnail_burden-of-proof-justice-scales.jpgPeople go to bars to drink - that is no secret. But how much can a bartender allow a single person to drink before sharing some responsibility for what that person does when he or she leaves the bar? If a bartender allows or encourages someone to get so drunk he or she cannot drive safely, and the drunk person gets in their car and hurts or kills someone else, can the bartender be held responsible? 

According to Illinois law, it may be possible to hold the bar or bartender responsible if a drunk driver gets in their car after being allowed to become intoxicated on the bar’s premises. An Illinois personal injury attorney can talk to you about your case and determine which parties are responsible for the injuries or losses you have suffered as the result of someone else’s poor decision to drink and drive. 

What Are Dram Shop Laws? 

“Dram shop” is an old-fashioned term that just means “bar.” Under Illinois law, the laws that potentially allow a bar or bartender to be held responsible for overserving an intoxicated customer are called “dram shop laws.” The person who got drunk and acted in a way that harmed someone else cannot sue the bar for allowing them to get so drunk; only the victim of the drunk person’s actions may be able to take action. 

The purposes of dram shop laws are twofold: First, to encourage bars and other establishments that sell alcohol to be cautious and responsible when providing drinks; and second, to provide victims of the actions of drunk bar patrons a way to recover compensation when the drunk patron’s actions cause serious harm. 

For a dram shop law case to be successful, the person who has been injured needs to prove the following: 

  • The person who caused the injury was drunk when the action that caused the injury happened 

  • The bar, restaurant, or other licensed location gave the patron alcohol

  • The alcohol provided by the bar, restaurant, or other license location did cause the patron to become drunk

  • The accident happened because of the patron’s drunkenness

  • The person who was injured suffered their injuries because of the drunk person’s action 

The laws that allow a victim of a drunk person’s injurious actions do not limit the provider of alcohol to bars and restaurants exclusively. Hosts of private parties that provide alcohol to underage drinkers can also be held responsible for injuries or deaths that result. This law can be especially relevant around the holidays, when many people host holiday parties at their homes during which young adults have easy access to alcohol. Even if the host did not directly provide alcohol to the underage individual, or even if they were not home when the underage person drank, they can still be held responsible for the injuries caused by the underage person’s intoxication. 

Call a Rockford, IL Drunk Driver Car Accident Injury Lawyer Now

If you have been seriously injured or a loved one has been killed in a car accident with a drunk driver, consider scheduling a free, no-pressure meeting with a Winnebago County drunk driver injury attorney right away. At Mannarino & Brasfield, A Division of Schwartz Injury Law, we will fight passionately for your rights and will work hard to secure you any compensation to which you are entitled from all responsible parties. Call us today at 815-215-7561





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